Sports

30+ Unfortunate Times Coaches Badly Failed Their Athletes

Darren - May 20, 2022
Sports

30+ Unfortunate Times Coaches Badly Failed Their Athletes

Darren - May 20, 2022
Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

27. Mike Rice Jr.

Rice was a decent college player but he never made it to the NBA. Instead, he moved into the world of coaching and worked as an assistant with several schools. After a spell as Robert Morris’s head coach, he moved to Rutgers and attracted national attention (via 247 Sports).

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

But this wasn’t for good reasons because he abused his athletes. ESPN released footage of Rice hurling basketballs at his players’ heads. He also verbally and physically abused them in different ways. Rutgers fired him because he betrayed and bullied his athletes.

Mandatory Credit: Sky Sports

26. Ron Jans

F.C. Cincinnati is one of MLS’s newest franchises. They made their debut in 2019 and developed a strong following in the city. However, they also attracted a scandal because of their former coach, Jans. The Dutch soccer manager sang a song with a racial slur in the locker room.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

Players allegedly told Jans that his song was inappropriate because of racial relations in the U.S. However, this wasn’t a case of a cultural misunderstanding. Jans also joked about slavery when the team visited a memorial in Washington. In sum, he’s a vile excuse for a human being (via The Guardian).

Mandatory Credit: N.Y. Times

25. Trevor Graham

Graham had a central role in the BALCO Scandal because he became a whistleblower. He sold out a fellow coach because they were rivals. But then the tables turned and the investigation discovered that he also gave drugs to his athletes. This cost several high-profile figures including Marion Jones.

Mandatory Credit: Fox News

The IOC banned him for life because he was one of the biggest cheaters on the planet. Graham also served a year of house arrest because he lied to a court. The Jamaican wasn’t just an immoral coach. He was also an idiot because his plan backfired badly (via Deseret). In the end, it cost him his career and rightfully so.

Mandatory Credit: Sky Sports

24. Steven Gerrard

Gerrard became a Rangers icon when he guided the team to a Scottish Premiership victory in 2021. However, he ran out on his players the following year when Aston Villa offered him a job. Rangers suffered a downturn in form after losing several athletes to injury.

Mandatory Credit: Sky Sports

It became clear that they wouldn’t achieve the success of the previous season. Gerrard furthered his career by joining the Premier League team. He ruthlessly abandoned Rangers before they tarnished his career. It was selfish but that’s the life of a soccer head coach (via Daily Record).

Mandatory Credit: Daily Mail

23. Dr. George Skafidis

Bernice Wilson was a rising star on the UK track scene. She represented her country on the international track scene before a pair of suspensions ended her career. Dr. Skafidis was the main reason why she tested positive because he emotionally manipulated her.

Mandatory Credit: Eurosport

First, they became involved in a romantic relationship. Then, Skafidis influenced her into taking steroids. He said that his medical experience meant that nobody would catch her. But that’s not what happened as he received a lifetime ban from the sport (via Lincolnshire World). That affected him but the true damage was what he did to her career.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

22. A.J. Hinch

Hinch isn’t on this list because he led his players astray. However, he failed to prevent them from cheating in one of MLB’s most notorious scandals. Their sign-stealing scheme was a major story because they cheated their way to a World Series victory (via FOX News).

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

In the end, the Astros scapegoated Hinch and G.M. Jeff Luhnow. Both men claimed that they played no role in the cheating. But Hinch was aware of it and said he should have done more to stop it. He had the power to take a moral stand but he failed to do so. The Astros’ World Series title is and will forever be tainted because of his willingness to overlook what was happening.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

21. Robert Drysdale

MMA is a very tough sport that requires intense mental fortitude. However, Max Rohskopf had a tough night against Austin Hubbard in 2020. The UFC rookie received a one-sided beating and couldn’t handle it. He went back to his corner at the end of the second round and told them he had enough.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

But his coach Robert Drysdale refused to accept this. He forced Rohskopf to go back out and finish the bout. This attracted a lot of criticism and an NAC investigation because he didn’t protect his fighter. Athletes depend on their coaches but Drysdale didn’t get the message (via MMA Fighting). It just wasn’t a great look for a coach in a sport where athletes already absorb a ton of mental and physical damage.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

20. Jon Gruden

A coach should set an example for his athletes. But Gruden betrayed them by being a horrible excuse of a human being. An investigation into Washington’s dirty dealings revealed the truth about the Raiders’ coach. He exchanged dozens of emails with Washington GM Bruce Allen.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

Gruden used appalling and derogatory language in the emails. He made homophobic references to different athletes and exchanged topless pictures of cheerleaders. It was deplorable and ultimately cost him his job. Las Vegas fired him because he made his position untenable (via Sporting News).

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

19. Dean Barry

The UFC raised eyebrows when they signed Dean Barry. The Irish fighter had an inexperienced record of just 4-1 before he signed the contract. Then, the promotion made him fight two weight classes above his usual class. He lost his only bout by disqualification due to an eye poke.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

However, Barry’s coaches and management let him down badly. He wasn’t ready to fight on the biggest stage and he panicked in front of the world. It was a pity because he has talent but it was too much too soon. The UFC cut him after the defeat and left him to fend for himself (via RTE). Hopefully he can fight back and get another shot on the big stage because his coaches failed him this time around.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

18. Cam Newbauer

The dynamic between a male coach and female athletes is a complex one. However, Newbauer didn’t get the message when he took the Florida Gators’ job. He coached their women’s basketball team and behaved like a piece of garbage. The coach abused his staff as well as his athletes.

Mandatory Credit: Wane 15

Allegedly he threw basketballs at individuals and regularly made racist comments. He also belittled people daily and abused his position as a mentor. It’s safe to say that he was everything that a coach shouldn’t be. In the end, he stained his record forever (via Ocala Gazette).

Mandatory Credit: Eurosport

17. Pep Guardiola

Guardiola is one of the greatest soccer managers in history. However, the Man City coach has an appalling track record in the Champion’s League with his current team. He won the trophy with Barcelona but failed to replicate this success in the U.K (via ESPN).

Mandatory Credit: Sky Sports

That’s because Guardiola always makes the wrong choices and overthinks. He makes illogical team selections because he’s trying to be too clever. In 2022, he substituted his best player, Kevin De Bruyne, and lost control of the tie against Real Madrid. He’s a brilliant coach but these losses are his fault. Maybe he would fare better if he backed his players more.

Mandatory Credit: Mississippi Today

16. Charles Francis

Ben Johnson became a Canadian hero when he won gold in 1988. The sprinter broke the world record on his way to glory and global fame. However, the world came crashing down around him when he failed drug tests. Suddenly, he was a figure of notoriety.

Mandatory Credit: Toronto Star

His coach, Francis, introduced him to steroids for the first time. Francis had a pernicious influence on his athletes and encouraged them to take PEDs. In the end, it cost everybody dearly because the truth emerged. Francis died in 2010 as a disgraced figure (via The Guardian).

Mandatory Credit: Sportskeeda

15. Sean O’Malley vs. Kris Moutinho

Nobody knew who Kris Moutinho was before he stepped up to fight Sean O’Malley at UFC 264. In the end, he suffered a brutal beating at the hands of “Sugar.” His toughness was amazing but arguably he showed too much heart for his good. His coaches failed to protect him and may have harmed his long-term health.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

Moutinho absorbed 230 significant strikes against O’Malley while landing just 70 of his won. He came forward like a zombie but O’Malley overmatched him. This was a strange fight to watch because fans saw his brain cells depleting before their eyes (via MMA Junkie).

Mandatory Credit: Fox News

14. Bela Karolyi

Karolyi was the coach from Hell. The Hungarian led the U.S. and Romanian gymnastics teams at different points in his career. His heyday was in 1976 and 1980 when he coached the latter team to glory. However, appalling details emerged of how he treated his athletes.

Mandatory Credit: Fox News

He allegedly starved his athletes, beat them, and denied them medical treatment. Some of the gymnasts even ate toothpaste before they went to bed. Karolyi had strong links to Larry Nasser, the reviled doctor who was convicted of a long and disgusting pattern of sexual abuse. He also coached U.S. star Mary Lou Retton (via Fox News).

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

13. Max Holloway vs. Calvin Kattar

Max Holloway is one of the best UFC featherweights in history. He fought Calvin Kattar in 2021 in one of the most one-sided fights ever. Many people thought that Kattar would present Holloway with difficulties. In the end, “Blessed” landed over 400 strikes as he dominated his fellow top featherweight.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

After the fight, Kattar’s coaches received a lot of criticism from the media. They failed to stop the fight and protect their fighter. Combat sports athletes rarely give up so it’s up to the coaches to protect them. But Tyson Chartier and his team failed Kattar on that day (via B.J.Penn.com). Thankfully he has rebounded well ever since and picked up a bloody win of his own after taking the better part of a year off.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

12. Chris Doyle

Doyle began coaching college football in the nineties in strength and conditioning. He worked with the Iowa Hawkeyes before his actions cost him his job. Doyle used racially charged language toward his athletes as he threatened to send them back to the ghetto (via Bleacher Report).

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

Furthermore, he was critical of how black players styled their hair. Iowa fired him because this was unacceptable in the 21st century. But Urban Meyer thought that he was a perfect fit for the Jaguars. Somehow he made it through vetting but the media picked up on his unsavory track record of alleged racism. He quit after a day on the job.

Mandatory Credit: Runners World

11. Alberto Salazar

One of the world’s most famous running coaches, Salazar influenced a bevy of athletes. These included British long-distance superstar Mo Farah and other Olympic stars. But he became embroiled in a major scandal in 2019. It emerged that he encouraged doping in multiple athletes.

Mandatory Credit: Runners World

Then things became worse when sexual misconduct accusations proved to be true. He received a lifetime ban from the sport because of his horrendous abuses. Salazar also inadvertently tarnished the names of some big stars by association (via Daily Camera).

Mandatory Credit: Sky Sports

10. Mark Sampson

Sampson coached the England Women’s soccer team for four years. But his tenure ended in disgrace after a disciplinary hearing. A pair of England players accused Sampson of using inappropriate language and racially abusing them. Sampson’s position became untenable.

Mandatory Credit: Sky Sports

However, it became messy when he brought a case of unfair dismissal against England. Sampson betrayed his athletes but he somehow earned a settlement from the team. He walked away from women’s soccer and focused on coaching men (via Daily Mail).

Mandatory Credit: N.Y. Times

9. Nadzeya Ostapchuk

Ostapchuk represented Belarus in the 2012 Olympics in London. Initially, she won the gold medal for shot-put but then the IOC stripped her. She failed a pair of drug tests and that was the end of her dream. But the worst part was that her coach played a vile role in this incident (via Sydney Morning Herald).

Mandatory Credit: Athletics Weekly

He dusted her food with anabolic steroids without her knowing. Ostapchuk didn’t know that there was anything wrong but she ingested banned substances. It’s a shameful thing to do because the coach ruined her reputation. He should have protected his athlete but he betrayed her in one of the worst ways possible.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

8. Pat Barry

Former UFC women’s strawweight Rose Namajunas fought Carla Esparza at UFC 274 in a strawweight title fight. She lost her belt after one of the most boring defenses in MMA history. This fight was incredibly uneventful as neither fighter produced anything. Namajunas avoided contact as Esparza tried to chase her around the cage (via MMA Fighting).

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

Her long-term partner Barry attracted a lot of criticism after the fight. He told her she was doing the right thing because the crowd was booing. Meanwhile, he gave her mixed messages that went against head coach Trevor Wittman’s advice. It was unprofessional and cost his girlfriend her title. After the fight, fan favorite Namajunas seemed to go from a UFC darling to a heel overnight with just one bad fight. Her coaches undoubtedly failed her but it also shows the fickle nature of MMA as whole. You’re only as good as your recent fight, at least in the eyes of the so-called ‘fans.’

Mandatory Credit: CNN

7. John Yems

In 2022, a shocking soccer scandal emerged. Crawley Town sacked their head coach because of his disgraceful behavior toward non-white athletes. He introduced a segregated locker room because he didn’t want Asian and Black players to mix with white stars.

Mandatory Credit: BBC

Yems also used racist and derogatory language toward these players. Seven players reported his misconduct and three investigations opened into his behavior. Yems had no shame because he instantly applied for jobs after Crawley Town fired him (via CNN).

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

6. Adam Gase

Peyton Manning recommended his former offensive coordinator Gase to the New York Jets but it ended badly. He was one of the worst head coaches in their history. The self-professed quarterback guru also ruined Sam Darnold’s prospects of becoming a franchise QB. It was a complete shambles (via Fansided).

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Gase coached Darnold badly and left him badly exposed throughout his tenure. It’s easy to forget that Darnold was very young when he joined the Jets. For context, Cincinnati Bengals passer Joe Burrow was older as a rookie than Darnold was in his first year. But Gase ruined his confidence and sent him on a downward spiral.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

5. Kamila Valieva

Valieva was a strong gold medal favorite heading into the women’s free skate at the Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022. Then a drug test scandal plagued her seemingly unstoppable run to the top of the figure skating world. However, she fell well short of expectations when she finished fourth overall. It was disappointing for the 15-year-old because she failed in front of the world.

Mandatory Credit: Olympic Channel

Then, her coaches savagely rebuked her live on television. This stunned viewers because they spoke to the vulnerable young woman horribly. The distraught athlete had no response to their criticism and verbal abuse. It was harrowing to witness (via Yahoo! Sports). She failed a drug test at the end of 2021 in a scene that only furthered the dark cloud hanging over the entire Russian Olympic team. But her team and coaches seemingly never had her back and she became a used and abused example of how poorly Russian athletes were treated before they were made into scapegoats.

Mandatory Credit: Dublin Live

4. John Kavanagh

Kavanagh is one of the most high-profile MMA trainers on the planet because he coaches Conor McGregor, who is the biggest star in mixed martial arts history. However, he attracted criticism in recent years because of his pupil’s downward spiral. Former UFC champion Michael Bisping even called for McGregor to fire his long-serving coach.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

That’s because critics see Kavanagh as a ‘yes man’ who doesn’t stand up to McGregor. McGregor’s wrestling hasn’t improved over the past few years. Meanwhile, he changed from a karate stance to a more conventional boxing style. This saw a decline in results (via Insider). The icing on the cake may have been when Kavanagh claimed McGregor had Dustin Poirier right where they wanted him early in their trilogy fight in July 2021 when in reality, McGregor was getting dominated with ground and pound on the mat.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

3. Teofimo Lopez Sr.

Lopez Sr. won a lot of praise when his son defeated the legendary Vasily Lomachenko. However, he suffered a shock defeat to George Kambosos in 2021. Kambosos knocked Lopez down early and dominated the fight. But Lopez Sr. refused to accept the result.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

He showed a lack of class as he said that everybody knew that his son won the fight. This was delusional and disrespectful. It also didn’t help his son because he made Lopez Jr. appear arrogant in defeat. Coaches should protect their athletes and instill humility (via SBNation).

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

2. Edmond Taverdyan

Olympic judo medalist Ronda Rousey became a superstar as she dominated the UFC women’s bantamweight division. Her coach, Taverdyan, took a lot of credit for her success. But he failed to help her evolve and adapt to different fighting styles. He also encouraged her to throw her hands in a fatal error (via Sportskeeda).

Mandatory Credit: MMA Junkie

She fought Holly Holm in a title defense that went badly wrong. Holm lit her up on the feet in an electric display. But Taverdyan infamously told Rousey that she was doing well and encouraged her to box. Remember, Rousey was an Olympic medal-winning judoka. After the fight, Rousey never won in the UFC again and much of that blame was placed on Tarverdyan.

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

1. Bobby Petrino

First, we acknowledge that Petrino took over the Falcons at a difficult time. Atlanta lost their star quarterback Michael Vick after news broke of his dogfighting scandal. This completely derailed their season but it also won Petrino a grace period (via The Spun).

Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports

Despite his bad results, his job remained relatively safe. But he continued to flirt with the Arkansas job, despite denying this when the media asked him about links. Finally, he quit the Falcons and joined the Razorbacks. He said goodbye to his athletes by leaving notes in their lockers.

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